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Old August 13th 15, 03:07   #44
Lennier's Tears
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: DC-ish
Posts: 318
Re: EpDis: Believers

Ehh, this episode. I didn't start out disliking it, but I find that every time I watch it, it annoys me more. There are some episode of Babylon 5 that I find hard to watch, while still thinking they are good or even great episodes, most notably "The Illusion of Truth", but also, as already mentioned upthread "Intersections in Real Time". There is definitely some of that going on with this episode. It's uncomfortable. But this one I wouldn't say is still a great episode. It has some good things going for it, but overall, it's just really not for me. I haven't skipped any episodes when doing B5 re-watches, but if I was going to start doing that, it would be with this one.

The themes explored in the main storyline of this episode are perfectly valid and interesting. Parents' religious beliefs and the impact of those beliefs on the medical care their children receive was a real world world issue when B5 was written and of course still is a real world issue today. Babylon 5 is generally GREAT at taking current issues and giving them a sci fi spin. I also like it when not every story is neatly tied up at the end and/or has a happy ending.

All of that, and yet it doesn't work for me.

In the real world, today, there are many countries who have laws and regulations to apply in situations like these. Parental rights are taken away when a child's life is in danger and parental beliefs interfere with said child's medical care. That isn't to say that such laws prevent all deaths. Plenty of children still die because their parents pray over them instead of getting them the help they need. But in a clear-cut case of a child already being in the hospital with doctors confirming that they absolutely, definitely will die if not operated on, that operation is going to happen. I kinda sorta feel like there SHOULD be rules like that for Babylon 5. Admittedly, the situation is rather more complicated there because there's all these alien races and Earth isn't supposed to interfere with their business. Realistically, though, Earth is going to interfere in people's business. The green/purple Drazi were mentioned upthread. Babylon 5 command definitely intervened in that situation.

Parents don't own their children like some type of property. Not in our society, and not in the Babylon 5 universe. It's not the rights of the parents that are the issue, it's the rights of the child. That (among other things) is why I think that Sinclair is wrong in this episode. He feels like he has to be an advocate for the parents because no one else will, but the parents wishes have nothing to do with anything.

Franklin is arrogant and I think he's wrong in using trickery to get the parents to stay around in hopes that they'll come to see things his way. But, I feel he's right about everything else. He DID swear an oath and he's bound by it. He has to perform this operation.

Anyway, I find it hard to believe that Babylon 5 wouldn't have some kind of protocol for this type of situation.

Another issue is that I kinda feel like this type of surgery should be possible without cutting the chest open. We've seen other fancy stuff happen in that medlab.

Why are the parents there to begin with? Were they just traveling in the area or did they purposefully seek out alien help because they couldn't get it on their own world? I think that's a fairly important detail, but I don't think there's an answer in the episode. I think this episode isn't helped by the fact that this stuff is happening to a people we've never heard about and never hear from again. Do all people on their planet believe as they do? That seems a tad unrealistic.

Dr. Franklin is a smart guy. I also find it hard to believe he didn't see that "lamuda" thing coming. I guess there wasn't much he would have been able to do about it anyway. If parental rights had been terminated (which again, would presumably be hard to do in an inter-species sort of situation, but they DID come to an Earth station where SOME Earth rules should apply) they could have kept the parents and child separate, but as it was there was no way to stop the parents from taking the child.

It bothers me greatly that Dr. Franklin mentions the cost of the treatment to the parents. I've commented on this in some other thread, but I can't now remember which one. It wasn't "The Quality of Mercy" because I haven't gotten to that one (rest assured I'll comment on it there again, though ). Anyway, the point is that I would really hope that in the 23rd century health care isn't only for those who can afford it. Out of all the health care systems in the world, 23rd century Earth decided to go with something resembling that of the late 20th century US? What a TERRIBLE idea.

I'm kind of curious about the details of this clandestine operation that we didn't get to see. Was Shon already out of it? Did they tell HIM what they were going to do?


I think Dr. Hernandez is great and I like how she stands up to Franklin when he's being a bit too self-righteous. I like the stuff with Ivanova and the raiders as well.

An unrelated comment about some of the dialog at the end. Sinclair says something like "What makes us human is that we care". What? They live in a space station full of aliens. I know they don't think that they're the only species who "cares". Did he mean "sentient" rather than "human"?
I think we're well beyond pastels now.
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